Special Report

11 Jobs Paying Americans Over $100,000

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 The nationwide median household income was $55,132 in June, according to Sentier Research. While incomes have risen slowly over the last several years, few families, and even fewer individuals, earn the coveted six-figure salary.

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases data on more than 1,000 occupations. As of 2014, only 38 occupations had and average annual salary of more than $100,000 — and the number of Americans employed in most of these occupations was not very high. Just 11 of these jobs employ more than 100,000 people. A typical human resources manager, the lowest paid worker on this list, earns $102,780 annually. By contrast, family and general practitioners have a median income of more than $180,000, making it the highest paid popular occupation in the country. Based on occupation data from the BLS, 24/7 Wall St. identified 11 jobs that pay Americans over $100,000.

Click here to see the jobs paying Americans the most.

Many of the most popular, high-paying jobs are managerial positions. These include financial, sales, marketing, human resources, computer and information systems, and architectural and engineering managers. Chief executives, who serve as the highest level of management in an organization, are also among the most popular six-figure jobs. Managers often have years of experience in their field and can oversee other employees, and their compensation is largely a reflection of this responsibility.

However, compensation is not exclusively tied to managerial responsibilities. Typical pay for many popular jobs has increased substantially due to social, demographic, and economic changes. As the population ages and requires more medical treatment and prescription drugs, the employment of family and general practitioners and pharmacists is expected to increase. Salaries largely mirror this trend. From 2005 through 2014, the median salary of these occupations increased by roughly 30%, while salaries for all jobs increased 20.8%.

The salaries of other high-paying occupations reflect the extent to which these jobs contribute to company profits. Marketing and sales managers, for example, are critical for a company to grow its sales and develop marketing strategies suitable to the ever-changing technological environment.

Workers in some of these six-figure-paying jobs are paid well because of the level of education, training, and certification required to practice in their field. Lawyers, for example, typically spend three years in law school and must pass their state’s bar exam in order to practice law. Similarly, doctors and pharmacists must hold advanced degrees. And while other jobs may not require additional certification, many employed in those occupations hold master’s degrees or other advanced certification.

To determine the 11 jobs paying Americans more than $100,000, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed all occupations with more than 100,000 workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics division. We did not consider catch-all occupations such as “education administrators, all other.” From the BLS’ Employment Projections division, we examined the education requirements, job training, and employment projections from 2012 through 2022 for each occupation. A description of each job came from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is maintained by the BLS.

11. Human Resources Managers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $102,780
> Employment change 2012-2022: 13.2%

Human resources managers help organizations find, motivate, and retain talented employees to help their businesses remain competitive. A typical HR manager earns $102,780 a year, the 11th highest median income of all popular occupations reviewed. Depending on their industry, such managers can earn even more. Those employed in professional and business services earn more than $112,000, while those working in the healthcare industry earn roughly $86,000. As the economy continues to recover from the recession and businesses expand and hire, employment of human resources managers is likely to increase. The BLS forecasts that employment of this occupation will grow by 13.2% by 2022, higher than the estimated 10.8% growth of all occupations.

10. Software Developers, Systems Software
> Employment:
> Median salary: $102,880
> Employment change 2012-2022: 20.4%

Responsible for designing, developing, and testing operating systems, software developers in systems software earn a median income of $102,880 annually. As the epicenter of the technology boom, California is home to many of the nation’s software developers. Consequently, 21.5% of all workers employed in this occupation work in the state.

9. Sales Managers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $110,660
> Employment change 2012-2022: 8.3%

The typical sales manager earns more than $110,000 a year. Such managers are important for driving revenue and profits at an organization. Day-to-day, these managers are responsible for training sales teams, preparing budgets, and analyzing sales data. The majority of sales managers have a bachelor’s degree and one to five years of experience as a sales representative. Even as companies move aspects of their business overseas and many worry about the effect such a move will have on U.S. employment, sales managers need not worry. The BLS estimates employment in this occupation will grow 8% by 2022.

8. Lawyers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $114,970
> Employment change 2012-2022: 9.8%

A typical lawyer earns roughly $115,000 annually, the eighth highest income among jobs reviewed. There are about 600,000 lawyers in the country, up 14% since 2005. Jobs in this area are expected to grow an additional 10% by 2022, according to BLS forecasts, in-line with the growth rate of all occupations over that time. Law firms employ the vast majority of lawyers. However, in the face of more frequent lawsuits, patent applications, and other legal tasks, many companies are expanding their in-house legal department to minimize costs. This will likely increase the demand for specialized attorneys in financial services or healthcare-related industries, for example.

7. Financial Managers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $115,320
> Employment change 2012-2022: 8.9%

There are roughly 500,000 people employed as financial managers across the country. At least half of all people employed in this area earn $115,320 annually. Financial managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience in a business-related field. However, companies are increasingly looking for employees with master’s degrees to fill these roles. And while certification is not required, many financial managers are CFA certified. The CFA Institute is widely recognized for its Chartered Financial Analyst certification, which requires passing three exams and four years of work experience.

6. Pharmacists
> Employment:
> Median salary: $120,950
> Employment change 2012-2022: 14.5%

Over the 10 years ending in 2014, the number of pharmacists in the country grew by 26.6%, significantly faster than the 3.7% growth among all large occupations. By 2022, the BLS estimates the number of people working in this occupation will increase by 14.5% as the population continues to age and will require more prescription medications. Nationwide, employment is expected to grow 10.8% through 2022. Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, roughly 17 million people have gained health insurance through an exchange or due to the Medicaid expansion. These people will likely use prescription drugs more frequently than they would have if they were uninsured. A typical pharmacist earns $120,950, the sixth highest income among occupations employing more than 100,000.

5. Marketing Managers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $127,130
> Employment change 2012-2022: 12.7%

Marketing managers earn a median annual salary of $127,130, more than 3.5 times greater than the $35,540 earned the typical American worker. One reason such managers earn high incomes may be due to their role in a company. Marketing managers are responsible for developing strategies that satisfy consumers and maximize the company’s profits. Additionally, they may oversee product development and identify potential customers. With companies these days able to sell their products in a store, over the phone, online, or any other way, demand for marketing managers will likely increase. The BLS forecasts the number of these jobs will increase by 12.7% by 2022, higher than the 10.8% growth rate of all occupations.

4. Computer and Information Systems Managers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $127,640
> Employment change 2012-2022: 15.3%

Computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers, are responsible for outlining a company’s technology needs and overseeing the implementation of programs to meet those needs. The majority of IT managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information-related field. Citing the importance of Internet and mobile networks to a company’s business goals, the BLS predicts employment in this occupation will grow by 15.3% by 2022. Additionally, mounting concerns over cybersecurity will further increase demand for IT teams and the workers who manage them. In 2014, a typical IT manager earned $127,640 annually.

3. Architectural and Engineering Managers
> Employment:
> Median salary: $130,620
> Employment change 2012-2022: 6.7%

A typical architectural and engineering manager earns $130,620 annually, nearly $100,000 more than the median salary of $35,540. Many workers in this field have a bachelor’s degree in architecture or engineering, and some have received advanced degrees in engineering management or other related fields. Future growth of this occupation is heavily determined by the industry in which workers are employed. The engineering services industry, for example, is projected to grow by 21% through 2022, but manufacturing, the industry that employs the most of these engineers, is expected to contract by 6%. Nevertheless, the BLS forecasts employment of architectural and engineering managers will grow by 6.7% by 2022, slower than the 10.8% growth expected of all occupations.

2. Chief Executives
> Employment:
> Median salary: $173,320
> Employment change 2012-2022: 5.3%

When thinking of chief executives, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook may come to mind. However, the vast majority of CEOs make considerably less than such famous executives — the median annual salary of a chief executive is $173,320. While this is still nearly $140,000 above the median income of all occupations, it is considerably less than the millions of dollars earned by CEOs at some large companies. Employment in this occupation is projected to grow by 5.3% through 2022.

1. Family and General Practitioners
> Employment:
> Median salary: $180,180
> Employment change 2012-2022: 14.6%

No job with at least 100,000 employees has a higher median salary than family and general practitioners. Of the roughly 125,000 doctors in the country, at least half earn more than $180,000 annually, more than five times the median salary of all occupations. Over the 10 years ending in 2014, employment of general physicians rose 11.3%, and the BLS projects employment will increase by another 14.6% to 142,100 doctors by 2022 due to the substantial increase in demand for medical services brought about by an ageing population. Employment of all occupations is expected to grow 10.8% by 2022.

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